SUPPORTERS are making important financial and vocal contributions to Tranmere’s table topping success this season – and chief executive Mick Horton and manager Ronnie Moore (pictured, right) hope the backing will continue.
Revenue has been boosted by a rise in average attendances for League One games at Prenton Park of around 20% on last season – bucking the national trend and the recession.
Those fans are making more noise than for many years – both home and away – helping to inspire the team to 16 victories and eight draws out of 29 games played so far.
Horton said: “We are one of the few clubs in the Football League who are showing an increase in gates this season – of about 20% in fact.
“Hopefully, between now and the end of the season, the Wirral public are going to back us even more.
“It’s been very noisy support. It is all about success. We had a couple of lean years as a club and so did the supporters. This season there’s something for them to cheer, especially away from home.”
Tranmere’s eight away victories this season is already their best performance on the road in several years. Last season they managed five away wins, six in 2010-11 and just three in 2009-10.
Moore said: “The fans have been behind us from the start. The noise they make away from home is unbelievable sometimes. We’ve been getting more people coming through the turnstiles at Prenton Park and that is making a difference.
“We have nine home games to play and it would be good to have a few more coming in because we will need them.
“We need them to get behind us. There will be good times but there might be one or two bad days and we need the fans all the more when we’re not playing so well.”
Tranmere were hoping for a good attendance for Saturday’s home clash against fourth-placed Swindon Town, but the game was a victim of last week’s Arctic weather and was called off because of a frozen pitch.
With the fourth round of the FA Cup disrupting the League One programme, Bournemouth were the only team among the promotion chasers to make a significant move, advancing into the top six with a 3-1 home win over Crewe Alexandra.
Tranmere’s average attendance over 14 League One games at Prenton Park so far this season is 6,230, compared to 5,130 over 23 home games in 2011-12.
Rovers sit ninth in the table of the division’s best supported clubs. Sheffield United lead the way with an average of 18,494, followed by Portsmouth on 12,290 and Coventry City on 10,898. No other League One club boasts an average in five figures.
Last season Tranmere were the 17th best supported club in the division, which was dominated by a group of well backed sides in the leading positions.
Sheffield Wednesday, promoted as runners-up, averaged 21,336. Sheffield United, who finished third and missed out on the play-offs, averaged 18,805. Champions Charlton Athletic pulled in an average of 17,401 for games at The Valley and Huddersfield Town, promoted via the play-offs, averaged 15,700.
Preston North End have lost 2,000 supporters this season, with gates at Deepdale dropping from 11,434 in 2011-12 to 9,418 this season.